Chicken Salad with Indian Spices
2 hours 5 minutes
"Chef Silverton likes the food on her plate to look like it either fell from the sky or grew from the plate. I like to imagine the Little Gem lettuces and slivers of preserved lemon in this salad floating down to my plate from a big, bountiful, and billowy cloud. In this lovely dish, the chicken is scented with Indian spices and then cooked, shredded, and tossed with a lemon vinaigrette, tender greens, and toasted walnuts. Simple, but the spice mixture will have you returning to this recipe again and again."
1 chile de arbol
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
¼ cup cumin seeds
¼ cup coriander seeds
1 Tbsp green cardamom pods
1 Tbsp peppercorns
2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fenugreek
½ tsp ground nutmeg
8 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
¼ cup minced shallots
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
A few heads Little Gem lettuces, leaves separated, washed and dried
1 or 2 heads escarole
¼ preserved lemon rind, slivered
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (preferably micro cilantro)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Maldon sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
To make the spice mix, grind all of the ingredients to a powder in a Vitamix or a spice grinder or coffee grinder.
To make the chicken, season the chicken breasts with salt and then rub generously with the ground spice mix, making sure to cover the meat under the skin. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Remove the chicken from the fridge half an hour before cooking to let it come to room temperature. Brush off any remaining salt and spice. Preheat the broiler and set a rack so that the chicken is at least 6 inches from the heat source. (If your rack is not adjustable, roast the chicken instead at 425°F.)
To broil the chicken, rub the chicken breasts in olive oil and place them on a broiler pan skin side down. Broil for 15 minutes, then flip and broil another 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear. The timing will depend upon the size of the chicken breasts and their proximity to the heat source. Let the chicken cool.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or chop it into pieces. Discard the skin and bones.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the shallots, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. While whisking, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the ground pepper.
To assemble the salad, toss all of the salad ingredients together in a big bowl and season with Maldon salt and cracked pepper to taste. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Top with the chicken and drizzle with a bit moreof the vinaigrette.
Silverton cooks the chicken sous vide at Mozza, but at home, it can be broiled, roasted, or grilled. Likewise, I’ve used this spice mix on a whole chicken and roasted it, serving it with the salad and couscous on the side; you could also shred it and add it directly to the salad.
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